The controversial Operation Dudula movement launched its Western Cape branch in Cape Town on Saturday.
About 250 people, mainly Dudula members from other provinces, marched through the city streets for four hours singing anti-foreigner songs peppered with xenophobic phrases such as “hambani makwerekwere”.
They also chanted: “SA for South Africans, Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans, Mozambique for Mozambicans. Go home and fix your countries.”
The group handed over a memorandum at the Cape Town police station and was expected to hand over another to the department of home affairs, but no official was available to receive it.
— Esa Alexander (@ezaap) May 14, 2022
“Operation Dudula is a non-political movement that works with communities to highlight social injustices and economic injustices faced by South Africans,” the memorandum handed to the police said.
“The community of Cape Town and surrounding townships are concerned about the proliferation of … drug-dealing businesses, forced prostituti0n, gender-based violence, murder (and) illegal immigration and related crimes.”
— Esa Alexander (@ezaap) May 14, 2022
The movement demanded that police discipline officers who “fail to efficiently execute their duties and functions”. It also urged police to “arrest without any warrant all illegal foreigners roaming the streets of Cape Town”.
In the memorandum addressed to home affairs, the movement said Capetonians are concerned about “the increasing number of illegal immigrants that live in their midst”.
It added: “The impact of uncontrolled and unmanaged illegal immigration includes criminal activities by people that cannot be traced due to their illegal status in the country.
“Recent statistics confirm that serious crimes like drug and human trafficking can be attributed to activities by illegal immigrants who conduct these crimes at will because they have nothing to lose. Communities are concerned about the long-term impact of this on the youth of SA and human development of South Africans.”
The movement said there is an “influx of illegal foreigners/migrants from the Southern African Development Community region, Europe, Asia and the entire continent of Africa” as a result of a “dysfunctional border control system” in Cape Town.
“Some of these illegal immigrants are fugitives of justice from their respective countries,” the memorandum reads.
“Once in SA, they continue to commit nefarious crimes which not only affect South Africans but also affect the image of SA internationally. The presence of a large number of illegal foreigners (economic migrants) also encourages delinquent employers to disregard labour laws by sourcing their labour from this pool of illegal migrants because they can be exploited.
“Illegal migrants also put a burden on social services such as housing, health and education as they end up competing with poor South Africans who cannot rely on the provision of these public services from the state.”
The movement demanded that the department scan and verify foreign nationals’ identity documents. It called for the arrest and deportation of all foreign nationals who have contravened SA immigration laws.
“Operation Dudula and the community of Cape Town would like to exercise their civil duty and work with the department of home affairs to ensure compliance with all respective SA laws to manage immigration,” the memorandum said.
“South Africans deserve to live in a safe environment … where the status of every person residing within SA is known by the department of home affairs and can be accounted for.”
Members of the movement then walked to a chartered bus while a man in a camouflage uniform led them in song from the back of a van.
When the group filed past the Universal Church, the man warned the church against harbouring “illegal foreigners”. He also told homeless people they would beat them up if they smoked drugs. He told them to go find work.